(Reuters) – A dozen people, including two former employees of the Georgia Department of Corrections and seven current and former inmates were indicted on charges involving the use of cellphones to conduct drug trafficking, extortion, wire fraud and identity theft from behind bars, the Justice Department said on Thursday
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WASHINGTON, DC –
Information from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Middle District of Georgia
WASHINGTON – Darren Douglass-Griffin, 35, a former member of the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Macon State Prison (MSP) in Oglethorpe, Ga., pleaded guilty to a two-count bill of information charging him with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of inmates and falsification of records in a federal investigation, the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced today.
In connection with his guilty plea, Douglass-Griffin admitted that he and other correctional officers assaulted and injured inmates in a series of incidents at the prison in 2010. Douglass-Griffin indicated that correctional officers beat three inmates in separate incidents in order to punish them. One inmate was beaten so severely that he had to be transported from the prison in an ambulance.
Douglass-Griffin further acknowledged that he and other correctional officers tried to cover up MSP officers’ involvement in beating and injuring inmates. Douglass-Griffin stated that other MSP officers told him to write false reports and to stick to their cover story when speaking with investigators.
Douglass-Griffin faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
“The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute correctional officers who violate the constitutional rights of inmates, and use their official position to try to cover up their crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez.
“We expect the men and women who work in our state prisons to exemplify professionalism and integrity – and the vast majority do,” said Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “But when a small group of guards violate the civil rights of inmates in the facility and then actively try to cover that up, my office will have no tolerance for their conduct.”
This case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Tona Boyd of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.
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